Some might say that the best part of a wedding is the honeymoon. The planning is over, the guests have gone home, and now it’s time to travel and relax. With so many honeymoon destinations across the globe, however, choosing the perfect place for your perfect trip can often invoke a sense of anxiety which deserves no place amongst the merriment. Trust me, I know. I’m married myself.
Obviously price is a huge factor for many people, so included here are an array of destinations which range from affordable to all out lavish. That being said, your honeymoon is (hopefully) an event which will only occur once in your lifetime, so you want to make sure to enjoy yourself, do it right, and ensure that your memories of your special week or two are everything you ever wanted them to be.
So, without further adieu, here are 7 honeymoon destinations ranging from white sand beaches to historic stone castles where you can step away from the world, do something completely different, and exist in a cocoon of romance and fantasy where the real world has utterly ceased to exist.
A Philippines beach oasis which has exploded with growth over the last 20 years, your stances on rampant overdevelopment aside, White Sand Beach on the western side of Boracay is an idyllic honeymoon destination pulled straight from the pages of a magazine. Coconut palms which stretch over the whitest sand you’ve ever seen serve as a backdrop for water so clear you could drop your wedding ring and actually still find it. Plus, it’s cheap. While rooms on Boracay can still stretch into the $200/night range, private villas and bungalows in quieter corners of the beach van be yours for only around $40/night. Maybe get that scuba certification you’ve always talked about or take a sunset sampan ride, you and your new bride or groom sipping $1 San Miguel beers as you sail into another perfect Boracay sunset.
If you’ve always dreamed of traveling across Europe, Barcelona is one of the cities where you simply have to go. The energy of Las Ramblas boulevard, the wacky Gaudi architecture and the spice of Spanish flamenco all combine to create an atmosphere that ranks as one of the most legendary in all of Europe. If, however, you are looking for a honeymoon destination that is close to Barcelona but without all of the crowds, look no further than the stunning coastline collectively known as the Costa Brava. Situated only an hour north of the Barcelona city center, quiet towns such as Tossa de Mar offer private seaside villas where you can gaze over the azure coastline and watch the sun set over a 12th century Roman fortress. If you’ve had enough of lounging in hidden coves and have already done some day trips to Barcelona, the Costa Brava is also within striking distance of some of the most stunning wine country and vineyards in all of northeastern Spain. Though the Euro is a stronger currency and it’s a bit of a pricier destination, when you’re sitting down to a plate of steaming paella in a cobbled alley somewhere, the light from a table-side candle reflected in the bulge of your wine glass, the moon shining over the ancient stone fort is all it takes to confirm that this is a special destination for a once in a lifetime occasion.
Now I know this doesn’t come as a surprise, but Maui will forever be one those trademark honeymoon destinations that attracts newlyweds from all corners of the globe. While it doesn’t exactly rank high on the “unique” scale, there is a reason why tens of thousands of couples each year choose to jet off to everyone’s favorite Hawaiian island for a week or two in paradise. Snorkel with green sea turtles off of Kaanapali Beach or recount moments from the wedding as you watch the sun set over the moonscape of Haleakala Crater. Spend a moment bathing together beneath waterfalls on the world famous road to Hana, perhaps choosing to find your own private pool on a muddy and rugged trail on a hike through a bamboo forest. So although there are literally thousands of couples who annually choose to have the same honeymoon destination as you, there are enough adventures and creative itineraries scattered around the island to custom tailor a Maui honeymoon so that it’s the getaway you’ve always dreamed of.
It goes without saying this isn’t one of those honeymoon destinations you choose for the weather. If the idea of snuggling together in the corner of a dark wood pub, listening to the crack of the fireplace over a plate of warm rye bread and a bowl of steaming seafood chowder sounds like something you could get into, however, then Ireland might just be the place for you. While Ireland offers everything from quaint rural B&B’s to upscale urban resorts, why not do something completely out of the normal and spend your honeymoon in a castle? Scattered all across the western reaches of the country in the hinterlands of Connemara are a swath of castles open to guests which offer luxurious accommodations in a setting unlike anywhere else in the world.
If you’re the type of couple who loves the outdoors and likes a little bit of everything, there are few places on the planet I would recommend more as a honeymoon destination than the adventure playground of New Zealand. Swapping beachfront luxury for adrenaline and variety, you’re hard pressed to want any activity which can’t be found in New Zealand. If you’ve got 3 weeks to a month to kill for a honeymoon, why not consider touring the country by campervan and–aside from getting a real good idea of what it’s going to be like to live together–go on one of the most epic road trips you’ll most likely ever take. Trek on on one of the “Great Walks” through the Southern Alps or paddle kayaks together through the golden bays of Abel Tasmen National Park. Charter a sailboat in the Bay of Islands or vineyard-hop the country’s wine regions from Waiheke to Marlborough to Otago. A southern hemisphere wonderland for the young, adventurous, and active, there are few better times in your life to explore the open roads of New Zealand and feel the freedom of life on the road.
Classier than Phuket and not as crowded as Koh Phi Phi, Koh Chang is one of those budget honeymoon destinations where the beaches and prices simply can’t be beat. Oh, the prevalence of $2 plates of pad thai, $1 bottles of Chang beer, $6 beach front massages, and $50 private bungalows aren’t a bad thing either. One of the largest islands in Thailand, what’s nice about Koh Chang is that you can do the beach scene by island hopping and snorkeling your way through the National Marine Park, or you can also head into the undeveloped interior of the island for waterfall trekking or swimming with friendly Asian elephants. The best time of year to visit Koh Chang is from November to February, so if you happen to be swapping vows in the frigid winter months back home, Koh Chang can double as an exotic, tropical destination where, if you’re so inclined, the toughest thing you have to do all day is lay on the beach and work on the perfect tan.
Argentina for a honeymoon? That’s weird. Yes, it is, but it’s one of the places that I went on my honeymoon and one of those out of the way honeymoon destinations I highly recommend checking out. Why? Well, how does touring the Andes on horseback and and stopping on an estancia to drink bottles of malbec wine and perfect cuts of Argentinian steak sound? Furthermore, while something like this would cost a fortune back here in the US, prices in Argentina run about a third of what you may pay for the exact same thing in somewhere like Maui or Tossa de Mar. Hang out in the secluded mountain hamlet of Uspallata in a secluded mountain lodge, or, head back down into the valley surrounding downtown Mendoza where you can shack up in a private villa for two tucked deep inside of a sprawling Mendoza wine vineyard. Though flying to Mendoza takes a fair amount of time, it’s the type of honeymoon that not many couples have experienced and one which will surely stick with you long into what I’m sure will be a happy and successful marriage.
This post has been sponsored by Escape Travel